For those who love snorkeling or just being in or near the water, the next logical step is to get a scuba certification. The two major scuba certifications are NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) and PADI (Professional Association Of Dive Instructors). Cozumel is a diver's paradise because its on the second largest reef in the world and provides a variety of diving experiences not easily found anywhere else in the World. Visibility is always over 100 feet and the water temperature stays a consistent 78 - 82 degrees year round.
Certification is easily obtained by taking a certification class one night a week for a month at your local dive shop. After all your classes have ended, typically you have a final exam and a series of exit dives (real dives made with your instructors in the ocean, lake or nearby springs) that lead to your certification. Certification costs, excluding equipment, usually cost around $100.
The average cost for renting gear, tanks and two dives (averaging about 40 minutes a piece) is $60-$70. Night dives, twilight dives and cenote diving are also very popular in this section of the Caribbean.
In our experience, people who take a scuba class usually either love it or hate it. Some people find they are just not comfortable breathing through a regulator under water. But the majority of people we've assisted in class immediately feel as though they've discovered a whole new adventure.
Scuba Diving as a hobby, exercise or adventure, tends to be no more dangerous than any other sport as long as its taken seriously and certification and training have been obtained. Like with any new exercise program, its always recommended that you get the approval your physician.
Recreational diving typically limits the depth of your dive to 100 feet. But for many, its not the depth of the dive, its what can be seen and experienced in just 20 feet of water. From 100's of varieties of small and extremely large fish (imagine a hugely stocked, fish store aquarium that stretches on for 100 feet), eels, sharks, rays, barracudas and on and on.
Scuba diving can be expensive if you find it necessary to own, versus rent, your equipment. But for many, scuba diving becomes much more than just the actual diving experience. It's planing a tropical vacation with friends or a spouse, its going to tropical destinations and experiencing new cultures, and most of all, its leaving it all behind, literally, and getting in the water!